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LoFi: Music’s Blank Canvas

Below are the notes for Season 2 Episode 7 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast. Enjoy 🙂

  • LoFi: Music’s Blank Canvas
    • In the words of my dad:
  • What the heck is Lo-Fi?
    • it is an abbreviation of the words Low Fidelity
    • To understand LoFi, it helps to fist understand Hi-Fi…
    • In audio, “fidelity” denotes how accurately a copy reproduces its source. In the 1950s, the terms “high fidelity” or “hi-fi” were popularized for equipment and recordings which exhibited more accurate sound reproduction.
    • High fidelity is a term used by listeners, audiophiles and home audio enthusiasts to refer to high-quality reproduction of sound. … Ideally, highfidelity equipment has inaudible noise and distortion, and a flat (neutral, uncolored) frequency response within the human hearing range.
    • So Hi-Fi is when audio doesn’t include the scratches and bumps that come with reproduced sound. Because you’d think people would just want to hear the polished version right?… Well LoFi flips that notion on its head.
    • Wikipedia defines Lo-Fi as: a music or production quality in which elements usually regarded as imperfections of a recording or performance are audible, sometimes as a deliberate aesthetic choice.
    • When people ask me what Lo-Fi is or why I listen to it, I typically give them a short description: It is like elevator music, but better.
      • But, depending on how well I know the person asking, I tell them how it makes me feel… what I get out of it.
      • Music is an art. To use another form of art, painting, as an analogy: Most paintings try to get the viewer to feel something or connect with them. Where most music does the same, To me, Lo-Fi just gives me a blank canvas. And I think a lot of people could agree with me on that because Lo-Fi is very commonly played when people are trying to concentrate on something else or study for a test.
      • Instead of pointing my mind at a particular image or emotion, like most other forms of music, LoFi gives my mind the perfect audible setting to create my own art OR type out my own essay OR maybe just play video games.
      • I’m no expert on the subject, but in the past, I have thought: Perhaps LoFi is the product of the ADHD generation.
      • When you press play on any of my podcast episodes, the very first sound you hear is a part of one of my favorite Lofi songs; Solitude by Dekobe and the very last thing you will hear is another one of Dekobe’s songs titled Raining. I chose LoFi for my Podcast in the hopes it would get you, my listeners, in the right headspace for my content. That, and because Dekobe gave me permission to use his music over an Instagram post lol. He seems like a cool guy.
    • To give you a better idea of what Low Fidelity music sounds like, listen to this sample from the Song Luv(sic) part 1 by one of the most respected LoFi artist Nujabes.

==========Play Audio Clip==========

  • Now I want to tell you about the guy who is unofficially responsible for creating this unique sound.
  • R. Stevie Moore- Father of Lofi:
    • When Moore was just a young boy he came up with the idea of recording music by himself at home.
    • He was inspired by his father’s musical career as a base player for just about every major country star to wander through Nashville Tennessee.
    • As a teenager Moore had access to a cassette tape player where he jammed out to some of his favorites like the Beatles and Elvis Presley.
    • Moore soaked in the sounds of early rock-n-roll and it wasn’t long until he started recording his own music.
    • By the late 1960’s he was cranking out full albums.
    • Being able to play Bass, guitar, keyboard, percussion, and do vocals, Moore was able to create every aspect of his music. He just overdubbed his own playing on to a track to create a full song all by himself.
    • Even after overdubbing up to about 10 times, you can still make out the first recording on a track.
    • Moore didn’t invent home recording, he wasn’t the first to do so, but he did take the practice to new heights.
    • This was Moore’s hobby. He already had the instruments, tapes weren’t too expensive so it didn’t cost him much. He did it by himself so he didn’t need to work around others’ schedules… so he did it A LOT.
  • Moore estimates that he has written somewhere between 4 and 5 THOUSAND songs so far.
    • How does he write so much – How does he record so much??? He doesn’t discriminate. Where most artist will pick and choose what they release to the public, R. Stevie Moore releases all of his music, warts and all.
    • He says “Cause bad music is brilliant. It’s a diary of sound.”
    • Artist like the Talking Heads and the B-52’s were influenced by Moore.
    • For over 40 years, Moore was scarcely seen playing music outside of his bedroom. He was a hermit.
    • But in 2010 his career took a turn. He joined a band and toured the world. From large-scale festivals to dive bars. R. Stevie Moore was no longer an obscure album in the Record Store. He was The Father of LoFi.
Great Big Story did a piece on Moore. check it out!
  • Bless R. Stevie Moore. The genre that came out of his playing helped me through my masters degree.
    • It was during my own hermit year of 2017 when I found LoFi.
    • I think I typed “music to study to” in the YouTube search bar. Before that, BlueGrass was my go-two concentration genre.
    • But it is a bit daunting to get in to. Like any new realm, it helps to have a guide.
  • My Favorite LoFi:
    • Instead of playing an absurd amount of audio clips from a bunch of different songs on this episode, I urge you to Check out the accompanying blog post for the links to my favorite artists. But in case you are just listening, here are a few:
      • I already mentioned Dekobe as his music is the intro and outro to every Who’d a Thunk It? episode. He is a little known artist from Canada. Look him up, DEKOBE
      • L’Indécis is a pretty popular LoFi artist. His sound is incredible.
      • Blazo is a Polish producer who makes Jazz style LoFi.
      • The artist Nujabes, from the clip i played earlier, is amazing. Nujabes is widely regarded as one of the best in the genre. The Japanese artist produced the soundtrack for the hit anime Samurai Champloo. Tragically in 2010 he died in a traffic collision in Tokyo.
      • But probably the most popular way to get in to LoFi is not by looking up an individual artist or track.
  • Just look up a live stream. There are tons of Lo-Fi playlists that play on a loop on Youtube for free, 24/7. At any time of the day or night you will find hundreds of other people listening for various reasons and occasionally typing in the chat to one another.
    • Arguably the most popular LoFi live stream is ChilledCow, but there are others like Chillhop Music and Lofi Geek. Next time you have some chores or errands to do, put on some LoFi. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how tranquil the music can be.

Below are some individual LoFi tracks for you to enjoy 🙂

L’Indécis is a pretty popular LoFi artist. His sound is incredible.
Here is another one of my favorites from Dekobe. He is from Mississauga, Canada. HERE is his SoundCloud. The intro and outro to every episode of my Podcast are from Dekobe. He gave me permission to use his music over an Instagram post lol. He seems like a cool guy.
I love cooking to this track. Blazo is a Polish producer who makes Jazz style LoFi.
Part of my Cooking LoFi playlist
Part of my Cooking LoFi playlist
I have to include a Nujabes song on here, otherwise it would be sacrilegious lol. Nujabes is widely regarded as one of the best artist in the genre. The Japanese artist produced the original score for the hit anime Samurai Champloo. He deid in a traffic collision in 2010 in Tokyo.

If you are like me and prefer to listen instead of read, then you are in luck. Everything above is read aloud by me for the Who’d a Thunk it? Podcast. By now the Who’d a Thunk It has reached people in 38 countries. It is hosted by Anchor.fm but you can also find Who’d a Thunk It on:

If you would like to contact me, feel free to comment on this blog post, or email me at WhodaThunkItPodcast@gmail.com

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